Those on the wrong end of Supreme Court decisions are often disappointed, disgruntled, annoyed, and/or angry. I know this from personal experience. Several times over, in fact.

However, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to criticize a court opinion. Some of the reactions to last week’s decision striking an anti-tax initiative from the ballot were well over the line of acceptability.

One columnist accused the court of “collud[ing]” with and “[d]oing the bidding of Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s supermajority legislative leaders.” A state senator railed against “these partisan justices.” Another senator said the court “simply caved to pressure from the governor and legislative Democrats.” An Assemblyman was convinced “we have devolved from a constitutional to a banana republic.” And an organization’s president claimed that the justices are “part of the progressive agenda in California” and that “there is no independent judiciary in California anymore.”

It’s not the court’s ruling that’s a threat to the state’s independent judiciary, but the over-the-top attacks on the ruling. In addition to ignoring that a Republican-appointed justice concurred in the court’s decision, the critics attribute improper motives to the justices without evidence. This damages the one of the state’s three branches that is the least able to defend itself and in which public confidence is so critical to a healthy government.

None of the attackers apparently disagree with the foundation of the Legislature v. Weber opinion — that the state constitution cannot be revised by an initiative. The dispute is whether the initiative under consideration would have accomplished a revision or just an amendment. Reasonable minds can differ on that question. But unsubstantiated impugnments of those who have been appointed and then elected to decide the question is not the product of reason.

[June 27 update: Veteran columnist Dan Walters writes for CalMatters, “Did political bias actually influence California court ruling on anti-tax ballot measure?” He concludes, “A careful reading of the 51-page decision acquits Liu and his colleagues of alleged ideological bias. It’s evident that in drafting the measure, proponents overreached by making very fundamental changes in California’s governance system, amounting to a revision of the Constitution that can only be proposed by the Legislature or a constitutional convention.”]